ADM Capital Europe LLP is pleased to announce that its Cibus Fund (“Cibus”) has made its first investment into the high growth vertical farming sector, leading the successful USD 40m Series D fundraise for AeroFarms, the leading US based operator.
AeroFarms specialises in aeroponic growing techniques to produce leafy greens, herbs and soft fruit. To date, the business has built nine indoor farms across the USA which employ a patented state-of-the-art aeroponic growing system that enables indoor crop production without sun or soil, using 95% less water and 80% fewer nutrients than in the field. The ability to locate operations close to key market distribution centres significantly lowers transport time and cost, whilst the use of advanced technology in the production cycles increases yields and underpins security and timing of supply. Customers currently include Wholefoods, now part of Amazon.
Funds from the investment will be used to accelerate AeroFarms growth as it continues to execute its geographic expansion strategy and further develop its market leading proposition. The deal is the second made by ADM Capital’s Cibus Fund, which completed a USD$100m first close in April 2017.
Cibus aims to take advantage of the significant investment opportunities presented by global demographic changes, shifting trade patterns and, fundamentally, the inability of the world’s fastest growing economies to meet rapidly increasing regional demand for high-value foods driven by burgeoning middle classes. The AeroFarms investment will form part of the early stage investment mandate of Cibus, complementing the Fund’s primary focus on mid-market investment opportunities in sustainable food processing and production companies, primarily across Europe and Australasia
Commenting Alastair Cooper, Head of Early Stage Investments at ADM Capital said:
“We are delighted to announce our investment into AeroFarms. In our opinion, the business is at the vanguard of integration of big data analytics and food production, enabling highly efficient food production and guaranteeing security of supply. Being able to produce more with less is key to meeting the dietary demands of the World’s growing population and AeroFarms’ technology-driven solutions clearly reflect this dynamic. AeroFarms represents the future of farming and demonstrates the Cibus Fund’s sharp focus on backing category champions with high scalability.”
David Rosenberg, co-founder and CEO of AeroFarms said:
“We are at a major inflection point globally as we think about the challenges of increasing population and urbanization, loss of fresh water and arable land, worker welfare, food safety, and food security. Meeting this challenge requires innovation and the ability to leverage the speed of technological progress in the agricultural field. We have developed a truly differentiated product, revolutionizing crop production from seed to package. We are now ready to accelerate our development, building on our proven production track record and blue chip customer base. We welcome this investment by ADM Capital and recognize how their complementary vision and expertise will support the execution of our ambitious growth strategy.”
Founded in 2004, AeroFarms® is a mission-driven company setting a new standard for controlled urban agriculture. They are leading the way to address the global food crisis by building and operating indoor farms in cities across the United States and around the world, fundamentally transforming the business of agriculture to enable local food production at scale. A new generation of farmers, their focus and expertise is growing safely, fresh, nutritious, delicious produce all year round, making locally-grown food accessible to all consumers. They have built in Newark New Jersey their new global headquarters and world’s largest indoor vertical farm for baby leafy greens and herbs. In addition, they have immediate plans to build multiple farms in major cities in both the United States and around the world, helping to address a truly global concern over how to grow safe, healthy food locally and at scale.
AeroFarms’ plants grow on a 100% recyclable cloth medium that anchors their roots that are misted with a blend of nutrients and water. For more effective photosynthesis, they use LED lights designed to deliver the exact wavelengths of spectrum of light that plants need to thrive in the most energy-efficient way possible. A data-driven company, their plants reach their peak nutritional and flavour potential by continuously monitoring with sensors and optimizing the plants’ environment.
AeroFarms unique growing method provides a wide variety of environmental and social benefits including, year-round, high quality growing with higher yields, faster 12-16 day crop cycles for 22-30 crop turns per year, no pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and significantly lower transportation miles due to farm proximity to markets served, to name a few.
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